Hinson returns to hometown stage at Nashville AIDS Walk

With a voice that is soulful and reminiscent of Yusuf Islam — better known as Cat Stevens — Jimbeau Hinson returns to the Nashville music scene as proof that passion and determination can conquer anything.

Some may remember Hinson from his successful career as a songwriter for the likes of Brenda Lee, Patty Loveless, Steve Earle or the Oak Ridge Boys. The highlight of his career came during the mid ’90s with the success of the song “Party Crowd.” Hinson should have been on cloud nine, but instead he was suffering with the secret of being HIV positive.

The following year he went into a coma and had to spend over two months in the hospital. Through the years his health has improved and now Hinson is staging a comeback in the Nashville scene.

“I think the entire world has opened up more since the early ’70s when I came out, as the first ever openly bisexual singer/songwriter in Nashville,” he said. “In 1996, when my near death forced my secret HIV infection from out of the shadows, the hospital waiting room was filled to capacity with people from the industry.”

As further proof these years later, it was shown at the Nashville AIDS Walk & 5K Run, he was invited to perform for the participants of this event.

When he was asked about the event and how he felt about his ties to it he said, “Brenda and I lost most of our gay friends in the mid ’80s and early ’90s. We've been out of the loop there since we settled down to a life of monogamy in 1983, when they figured out it was sexually transmitted.”

They were way too busy standing by dear dying friends bedsides and keeping him alive as well as staying under the radar concerning the infection in order to protect his wife's family business.

“If you recall, they were burning children out of neighborhoods and schools back then. I had already sacrificed my artist career to live openly and honestly,” Hinson said. “I was not about to lay waste to my wife and her family's business where they all worked. We were literally forced to keep it to ourselves.”

Since Brenda has continuously tested negative for the last 33 years, they thought the whole world was smart enough to know better than to be out there exposing themselves in this day and time. “Any opportunity to speak about the completely avoidable spread of HIV to yet another generation is a welcomed one. It was great to stand on that hometown stage and speak openly for the first time ... about my infection,” Hinson said.

In addition to this opportunity, he has also released a new album titled “Strong Medicine.” It’s a soulful collection of songs, the lyrics are moving and make for a very pleasant listening. “I want people to hear and see themselves in my music ... to know they are not alone... that we are all in this together,” Hinson said.

If you would like to hear “Strong Medicine” and find out more about Hinson, visit his website at www.jimbeauhinson.com, or www.wrinkledrecords.com.

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